INTERMITTENT FASTING (IF)
It's more about "WHEN" You Eat
than "what" You eat
It’s About . . . time
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. IF is more concerned with when you eat, rather than what. This is a control strategy where you’re cycling between periods of eating and fasting. The basis behind IF is that it lowers your insulin levels so your body starts to release stored sugar and burn it as fat.
The 16:8 – This method involves skipping breakfast and restricting daily eating period to 8 hours, such as from noon to 8 p.m. You then fast for 16 hours in between.
The 5:2 – With this one, you consume only 500 – 600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but you eat normally the other five days.
IF is a popular weight-loss trend that has continued to gain steam. It seems to be a more simple way to control your calorie consumption by limiting your available “time to eat” versus counting calories.
However, you shouldn’t think of fasting as a quick fix diet solution. IF is more of a lifestyle choice that can help with weight control by limiting the amount of time in your day that you allow yourself to eat. Sticking to that schedule is the challenge and the key. If you don’t like counting calories, intermittent fasting may be an alternative way to reduce calories that works for you.
Evidence-Based Intermittent Fasting Benefits
WEIGHT LOSS – Intermittent fasting results in you eating fewer meals, so you consume fewer calories. IF enhances hormone function resulting in the breakdown of body fat for turning it into energy. It BOOSTS your metabolic rate and REDUCES calories.
IMPROVED HEART HEALTH – Studies show intermittent fasting may provide positive results in improving risk factors for heart disease such as levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
BRAIN HEALTH – Brain health is another benefit of IF. It may protect the brain from damage by increasing the growth of new neurons and reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels.
REDUCE STRESS & INFLAMMATION – IF should have benefits against aging and development of numerous diseases due to its reduction of oxidative damage and inflammation.
IMPROVES SLEEP QUALITY – Fasting can allow your digestive system to quiet down and save energy earlier in the night. This lets you fall asleep easier, stay asleep longer, and feel more refreshed when waking up.
Use this information for better health
- Say “NO“ to sugars and refined grains. Add fruits, vegetables, lentils, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to your diet as much as possible.
- Don’t snack. Keep snacking to a minimum so your body can burn fat between meals. If you sit behind a desk, take frequent breaks. Stay active throughout your day.
- Simplify fasting by just setting the hours of the day when you allow yourself to eat. Setting your eating schedule earlier, makes it even more beneficial.
- NO snacking before bedtime. . . ever!
Who Should Avoid IF? Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and women who are breastfeeding should avoid intermittent fasting. Those with a history of eating disorders or who have health issues should avoid fasting. As with any change to your fitness or diet routine, you should consult a physician before jumping in.
INTERMITTENT FASTING AND SLEEP
Early dinners and skipping snacks at least three hours ahead of bedtime have proven health benefits. Not only does it improve the quality of sleep, but it helps build a healthier circadian rhythm. Fasting after sunset (circadian fasting) helps develop a regular sleep schedule while helping you sleep deeper, reducing awakening caused by nightmares, and lowers leg movements.
Intermittent fasting enhances sleep quality by allowing the digestive system and your internal clock to work together. When they are aligned, they send a message to the entire body that it’s time for a stand by mode before going to bed. If you decide to go to bed within this three-hour timeframe, the body will use the energy for digestion instead of for cellular repair.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting has the potential to make jet lags less rough. Pausing your internal body clock by not eating 16 hours before landing can help you to adapt to a new time zone. This happens because, in a way, our body clocks restart once we eat after intermittent fasting, making it easier to adjust your eating schedule to the local time.
When it comes to intermittent fasting and sleep, people often overlook the importance of beverage intake. Staying hydrated during the day also improves the quality of sleep. This means that you should avoid drinking coffee and alcohol a few hours before going to bed because they will likely dehydrate you and keep you awake, restless, and snoring.
The best thing about intermittent fasting (IF) is that it provides positive health benefits without requiring a disruptive change in lifestyle. When fasting, we still need to remember the importance of providing your body with all the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs. We all know (or should!), a healthy diet and exercise is the key to GOOD HEALTH!